Inspiration is a strange thing. We commonly find ourselves settling into habits and rituals that make the more difficult things in life like time management, expenses, and responsibilities just a little easier. That’s just good planning. However, once in a while something strikes us in such a way that we question everything we do, think, and say. Something that reaches us on a deep level and forces us to examine exactly why it is we act the way we do.
So how was I inspired by a creature straight out of ancient history? Commonly referred to as a “living fossil,” the Nautilus has changed very little over the last several million years. Its simple life under the ocean is nothing particularly amazing; it’s not the most deadly predator under the sea, it’s not the most pleasing creature to the human eye, it’s not even at the top of the food chain in its ecosystem. However, its shell is a work of art that nature crafted hundreds of millions of years ago that has persevered and allowed this interesting organism to thrive through countless generations.
The shell of the nautilus is arranged in a type of mathematical spiral. Without getting too nerdy, I’ll explain what this means to the organism that lives within this geometric enclosure. As a hatchling, a nautilus occupies three to four small chambers arranged in a tightly wound spiral of a sort of mother-of-pearl material. As the nautilus grows, it creates new, larger chambers in a prescribed pattern around its older chambers, sealing off the previous one except for a small duct. In this fashion, the nautilus continues its growth around its center creating proportionally similar but larger enclosures until the end of its life.
It is this constant prescribed growth in a clear and direct pattern that caught my eye and that continues to inspire my own personal growth. Even as a young creature, it knows that it must create a new space that it will grow into and subsequently, eventually outgrow. The constant drive of time is ever present in the mind of the nautilus, and it embraces this drive as it embraces its own former chambers. Constantly improving by creating new pieces of itself, yet tied to its origin by building upon itself, it never loses its tie to the beginning of its life. It even uses the small duct left connecting each previous chamber to control its buoyancy, allowing it to navigate its environment by using its abandoned past as a tool.
In many ways, the nature of this ancient creature defines the way we brew beer. Though we are constantly moving into newer and bigger environments, we realize the need to end the previous chapters while never forgetting the structure and utility of these past experiences. We as brewers constantly use what we learn and where we came from to guide us on a known path outward from our origin to the end of our journeys. Though we hopefully have many years and many new experiences ahead of us, the nature of our progress should always be defined by what we have learned and assimilated throughout our experiences.
It’s no coincidence that this shape has inspired us. After all, spirals are all around us (no pun intended). Though circles and spheres may be the most perfect omni-directional object, spirals are nature’s reaction to this omnipresence, in response to gradients of influence. Just look at the shape of galaxies, whirlpools and maelstroms, even weather phenomena like tornadoes and hurricanes.
So when people ask me why I chose the nautilus shell to be the symbol of New Main Brewing, that is the long answer. The short answer is I’m a huge nerd, and geometry is kind of my thing. However, nothing in life is worth doing unless you are passionate about it, and I believe that this symbol perfectly describes the nature of this brewing endeavor. Though we must constantly grow into the new, we must also build upon our main core of traditions. Let’s ride the spiral together, and we may just go where no one’s been.
Special thanks to Melissa Brimer for helping out with the logo design!
Today's Main Break: The individuals who built the pyramids were paid in beer and bread. But they were also basically slaves, so... yeah. Not sure about that exchange rate there.